Research shows there has been an increase in the recognition and diagnosis of the Symptoms of Autistic Spectrum Disorder in children.
Each child with autistic spectrum is different and the degree of Symptoms of Autistic Spectrum Disorder will vary from child to child.
However all children with autism will normally present the following Symptoms of Autistic Spectrum Disorder:
- Communication problems
- Social interaction problems
- Behavior issues
It is also true that some children with autism ARE very sensitive to their environment. For example; bright light, noises even background noise, smell, the feel of some materials all these and more are all too much for some children with autism to bare.
Sometimes within the classroom a child with autistic spectrum can be viewed by their normally developing peers as “odd”, which can lead to social isolation and sometimes even bullying.
Within the autism classroom there are some areas you may well want to consider before the child with autistic spectrum begins:
First within the autism classroom…it is important to remember children on the autistic spectrum are visual learners, therefore visual prompts as to lessons timetables etc…are an important consideration.
A visual timetable…will give clear precise instructions and structure as to what is expected lessons/activities throughout the day.
Try and keep changes to routines or lessons to a minimal. Children on the autistic spectrum do not like changes and can become distressed. If possible tell your student with autism in advance of any possible changes, to give them plenty of warning. Springing a change on a student with autism should wherever possible be avoided.
It would be a good idea to consider within the autism classroom a “Time out” or “Quiet spot” for use by the student with autism when necessary it would be a good idea to avoid your other students using this space if your autistic student is in it for quiet time or time out
It is important also to remember a child with autistic spectrum WILL NOT read facial expressions or body language. So avoid the obvious, frown or the “shhh”. Children with autism will seldom understand jokes or subtle hints and clues. You will need to think literal.
Your student with autism may also NOT interpret themselves as “included” when you address the class, so it is well to remember to address them by name. The “everybody” or “everyone” phrases may well get lost, and the autistic student will not naturally think that includes them.
Try using visual lesson prompts and clues during lessons, children with autism respond better to visual lesson prompts.
Use autism social skills stories during the school day for all occasions where the student with autism is struggling or does not understand, for example recess, lunchtime even P.E.
These are excellent visual prompts, autism social skills stories provide clear structure to situations, like art lessons, music lessons, reading, quiet time and more, the social story is designed as a support for the student on the autistic spectrum.
As well as being visual the social story will have text that can be shared with the autistic student allowing them to understand what is expected of them as well as what they can expect from others etc….again a clear structured method helping support the student on the autistic spectrum.
Be clear but firm on school rules, you can again use autism social skills stories to explain school rules and why they need to be followed as well as the consequence of not following rules.
You can also help support the student with autism by talking to other member’s of staff; explain what autism is, and how the behavior of a child with autistic spectrum will differ from that of a normally developing child.
Also explain what autism is to the other members of the autistic student’s class and peer group.
For more advice on what autism is… and to download autism classroom aids, like autism social skills stories visit: www.autismsocialstories.com/school
For all other autism social skills stories visit: www.autismsocialstories.com